Democratic Progressive Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Mangochi East—who is also a Public Appointments Committee (Pac) member— Francesca Masamba, has been barred from participating in the committee’s activities over allegations that she demanded a K2 million bribe from Michael Chiusiwa as investigations on the matter are on-going.
It is alleged that Masamba demanded the money from Chiusiwa to be given the position of Director of the Office of Public Officers Declarations which fell vacant following the expiry of the term of office of the then Director, Chris Tukula.
At that time Pac was conducting interviews for the position on which Chiusiwa, who was the deputy director, was a candidate.
Inside source within Parliament told The Daily Times that Chiusiwa reported the matter to Pac and Masamba was consequently removed from the panel.
Confirming the development, Parliament spokesperson, Ian Mwenye, said the concerned candidate reported the issue to the chairperson of the committee, Joyce Chitsulo, who reported the allegation to the office of the Speaker.
“This being an allegation concerning corruption, the issue has been referred to the Anti-Corruption Bureau for further investigations. Meanwhile, the concerned MP has been asked not to participate in the Committee’s activities.
“In this regard, the said MP was not part of the panel that conducted the interviews. I should emphasise that this is just an allegation until proven otherwise,” he said.
In a brief interview on the matter on Sunday Chiusiwa said he could not comment on the matter.
When contacted Monday Masamba refused to comment saying Parliament is better placed to.
ACB Director General Rayneck Matemba, Monday, confirmed that they are pursuing the matter.
“The allegation has been brought to our attention and we will take it up,” he said.
Two weeks ago, the committee confirmed Chiusiwa as the new head of the institution after he underwent interviews in July this year.
However, Parliament re-advertised the post in the local newspapers after the committee noted an anomaly in the earlier process and quickly rectified it through the advert.
Initially, the position was being held by Tukula whose contract ends this month Chiusiwa who was deputy to Tukula also has his contract expiring this month.
The office is an independent public body mandated by law to provide the legal and institutional framework for the implementation of provisions of the Constitution which require the President, Vice- President, Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament and prescribed public officers to declare their assets, liabilities and business interests upon assuming office.